I had an opportunity to spend time with a friend for lunch yesterday and we were discussing many of the problems and struggles he is having along with a major decision he is facing that will affect his family. My friend has been talking to a lot of people and has been receiving advice, some Godly and most of it fodder from others who think they are being helpful but are causing harm and confusion.
I listened to my friend talk for some time and finally expressed to him how he should only base his actions/decisions on the Word of God and not man’s opinions. I was led to begin discussing the fruit of the Spirit with Him and received a new revelation on the word longsuffering.
Galatians 5: 22 (KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Merriam-Webster defines longsuffering as patiently enduring lasting offense or hardship. For some reason, I have always thought about the word longsuffering in the context of covering a period of time (having a starting point and an end). However, I explained to my friend, while we were yet sinners, Yeshua (Jesus) died for us (Romans 5:8). When we were living our own way, not acknowledging Him, and committing all manner of sin, God still loved us; He still had a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11); and He protected and saved us from an eternity separated from Him. Once we accepted Jesus into our hearts as Lord and Savior, we did not stop making mistakes. Granted, we did stop, or we should have ceased from engaging in the same deliberate, intentional sinful activity as when we were walking in darkness (1 Peter 2:9-10). Therefore, God perpetually continues to be longsuffering toward us, even now that we are saved, born again believers! Psalms 23:6 (KJV) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever!
We have to be the same way toward one another and sometimes it seems like the most difficult process, especially with those who are closest to us. When a loved one, friend, co-worker or anyone has abused you, deceived you, lied on you, or hurt you in any way, the easiest solution is to cast them aside and dismiss them. This is the behavior we willingly embraced when we were in darkness and relying on our own strength and understanding. But thanks be to God, when we are yielded to the Spirit of God, longsuffering is one of His attributes manifested in us by His Spirit.